Charles visits hospital’s record-breaking new operating theatre

The Prince of Wales toured the Derwent building at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

06 May 2022

The Prince of Wales has visited a new operating theatre built in record time to help clear the backlog of patients needing surgery after the coronavirus pandemic.

Charles toured the Derwent building, a hip and knee operations facility at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, which was turned into a palliative care unit during the pandemic.

Its new theatre was set up in just two months.

Charles meets the medical team
Charles meets the medical team (Glyn Kirk/PA)

The prince met staff who went above and beyond during the first phase of the pandemic, including staying away from home for months to protect their families from Covid-19.

He also spoke to Michell Flores, who was a patient in intensive care but returned to work in the stroke unit when he recovered.

Charles then cut the ribbon on the hospital’s new Lavender Garden – a project funded by staff and donations to commemorate colleagues lost to Covid-19.

It was initially intended to commemorate two staff members who died with cancer in 2020, but it is now devoted to all employees who have died over the past two years.

Charles prepares to cut the ribbon
Charles prepares to cut the ribbon (Glyn Kirk/PA)

The garden is in an outdoor quadrangle and is intended to give staff a place to relax during difficult shifts and reflect on the difficulties of the past two years, a spokesman for the hospital said.

Anna Gryga, who worked in hospital administration, was one of the two people the garden was first designed for.

Her son Parys, 16, told the PA news agency: “She was an amazing woman, that’s the only thing I can describe her, a joy for everyone, a really reliable person.

“Lavender was her favourite flower, it has such a calming smell, that’s why it is a lavender garden.”

Prince of Wales visit to Dorset
Members of staff take pictures of the royal visit (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Parys spoke to the prince for several minutes during his visit.

Charles also posed for a photo with a group of nurses, and waved to crowds of people gathered at the windows overlooking the new outdoor space.

He said to one nurse “I don’t know how you do it” when she told him of the long hours they had worked during the pandemic.


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